NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2012

Instructor Details

Cattani, Gino



By appointment

Tisch 714


Course Meetings

T, 2:00pm to 5:00pm

KMC 3-80

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

The purpose of this course is to expose you to the dynamics of industries driven by technological innovation (whether technological or otherwise), and to train you to think strategically about innovation and new product development and deployment.  In this course, we will explore such topics as:

The course will be lecture, case, video and discussion based.  Like the industries we will study, the course will be fast-paced, and every effort will be made to make the class both challenging and exciting.  We will use a combination of text and cases to explore and apply the topics.  Because of the fast-paced nature of the course, it is vitally important that you come to class prepared and ready to discuss the topics.  If you stay up on the material you will learn more during the discussions and be successful at the assignments.


Course Outline


Topics and Readings


1. Key Concepts on Innovation


Class #1


Jan. 24




Required Readings

  • The 10,000-Hour Rule (chapter II of Outliers)

(Malcolm Gladwell)

  • Michelangelo, C.E.O. New York Times, April 16th 1994 -- available on Blackboard
  • Building an Innovation Factory

(Andrew Hargadon, Robert I. Sutton)

Optional Readings

  • Gladwell, M. 2008. Outliers. New York: Little, Brown and Company.


Class #2


Jan. 31




Types and Patterns of Innovation

Required Readings

  • Case: GEOX: Breathing Innovation Into Shoes (Ali Farhoomand)
  • First written assignment: Examine the pros and cons of the solutions Bower and Christensen proposed to deal with disruptive technologies.

Optional Readings

  • Hargadon, A. 2003. How Breakthroughs Happen. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Tushman, Michael L. and Philip Anderson. 1986. Technological Discontinuities and Organizational Environments. Administrative Science Quarterly, 31(3): 439-65 – available on Blackboard


Class #3


Feb. 7



Choosing Innovation Projects

Guest Speaker

Required Reading

  • Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning (James March) – available on Blackboard
  • Second written assignment: What are the challenges facing organizations as they seek to balance exploration and exploitation search activities? Do you think organizations can effectively strike such a balance or not? Why?

Optional Readings

  • Creating Project Plans to Focus Product Development

(Steven C. Wheelwright, Kim B. Clark)

  • Linton, J. D., S T. Walsch & J. Morabito. 2002. Analysis, Ranking and Selection of R&D Projects in a Portfolio, in R&D Management, 32(2): 139-148 – available on Blackboard


Class #4


Feb. 14



Innovation as a Process


·        Sketches of Frank Gehry

In-Class Individual Assignment

Required Readings

Breakthroughs and the "Long Tail" of Innovation (Lee Fleming)

Class #5

Feb. 21

Guest Speaker


2. Organizing and Managing Innovation


Class #6


Feb. 28



Innovation through Organizational Design

Required Readings

  • Case: Stone Finch, Inc.: Young Division, Old Division

(Richard G. Hamermesh, Elizabeth Collins)

  • Third written assignment: Do you think the Stone Finch, Inc. case represent an example of ambidextrous organization? Was it successful or not? Why

Optional Readings

C. A. O'Reilly III & M. L. Tushman. 2009. Organizational Ambidexterity: IBM and Emerging Business Opportunities, in California Management Review, 51(4): 75-99 – available on Blackboard


Class #7


March 6



New Product Development Process & Teams


·        Ed Catmull – Pixar: Keep Your Crises Small (available on You Tube)

In-Class Individual Assignment

Required Readings

  • A Bird’s-Eye View: Using Social Network Analysis to Improve Knowledge Creation and Sharing (Cross, R. et al. 2002) -- available on Blackboard
  • Building an Innovation Factory

(Andrew Hargadon, Robert I. Sutton)

Optional Readings

  • Cattani, G. & S. Ferriani. 2008. A Core/Periphery Perspective on Individual Creative Performance, in Organization Science, 19(6): 824-844 – available on Blackboard


Spring Break


Class #8


March 20



Collaboration Strategies and Open Source Innovation

Required Readings

  • The Era of Open Innovation (Henry W. Chesbrough)available on Blackboard
  • Forth written assignment: Do you think IBM’s radical collaboration approach was successful? Why?

Optional Readings

  • Chesbrough, H.W. (2003). Open Innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston: Harvard Business School Press
  • Chesbrough, H., Vanhaverbeke, W., West, J. (2006), Open Innovation: Researching a New Paradigm, Oxford University Press


Class #9


March 27



Protecting Innovation

Guest Speaker

·        New Trends in Intellectual Property (IP)

Required Readings

  • Case: The Value of a Patent to the Entrepreneur
    (James G. Conley, Feng Qu, Geoff Nudd and J. Cooper Marcus)
  • Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention. The RAND Corporation (Kenneth Arrow) – available on Blackboard
  • Fifth written assignment: Under which circumstances do you think patents represent an effective IP protection mechanism? Can you think of situations where it may not be as effective?

Optional Readings

  • Levin, A. K. Klevorick, R. R. Nelson & S. G. Winter. 1987. Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity – available on Blackboard

·         Teece, D. J. 1986. Profiting from technological innovation: implications for integration, collaboration, licensing and public policy, in Research Policy, 15(6): 285–305 – available on Blackboard


3. Industry Dynamics of Innovation


Class #10


April 3


Value Dimensions of Innovation


·        ‘Who Killed the Electric Car? (available on You Tube)

In-Class Individual Assignment

Required Reading

  • Case: TBD – available on Blackboard

Optional Readings

  • Bijeker W. E. 1997. Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press


Class #11


April 10



Standards Battles and Design Dominance

Required Readings

·         Case: Technological Leapfrogging: Lessons from the U.S. Video Game Console Industry (Melissa A. Schilling) -- available on Blackboard

  • Increasing Returns and the New World of Business – available on Blackboard (Brian W. Arthur)
  • Clio and the Economics of QWERTY (Paul A. David) – available on Blackboard
  • Sixth written assignment: Why do you think that clearly inferior technologies or innovations become accepted? Which conditions or factors are responsible for it?

Optional Readings

  • Shapiro, C. & H. R. Varian. 1999. Information Rules. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press


Class #12


April 17



Technology Adoption and Diffusion

Required Readings

  • Timing Technological Transitions (Richard Foster) – available on Blackboard
  • Managing the ‘s’ Curves of Innovation (Rick Brown ) – available on Blackboard
  • The Law of the Few (chapter II of The Tipping Point)

(Malcolm Gladwell)

  • Seventh written assignment: What is the meaning of tipping points important? Should organization and managers care about them? Why?

Optional Readings

  • Rogers M. E. 1962. Diffusion of Innovations. New York: Free Press


Class #13


April 24




  • Review Session: Q&A

Required Readings

  • The Matthew Effect (Robert K. Merton) – available on Blackboard
  • Eighth written assignment: Identify at least one situation you know of where the Matthew Effect is clearly at work. What are the consequences for economic actors (whether individuals, organizations or else)?

Class #14

May 1

In-Class Final Exam!!


Assessment Components

Grade Breakdown

1. Class Discussion                                                                                         25%

2. Written Assignments                                                                                  25%

3. In-class Quizzes/Exercises                                                                          20%

4. Final Exam                                                                                                  30%


Total                                                                                                               100%


CLASS Participation (25%)

The goal of this course is to create a community of learning; thus, participation in class discussion is a central obligation of the students.  Given the importance of discussion and the fact that this course consists of only 14 consecutive sessions, it is imperative that you attend.  Absences have a direct and immediate negative impact on your grade: the maximum grade you can earn in the course is reduced by a quarter of letter grade for each session that you miss after 1 unjustified absence.  I will track attendance and collect your notes on your own participation in the form of a daily feedback memo, which you will complete for each session.

In order to stimulate class participation and give everyone the chance of voicing his/her opinions I may also cold call on students.  This obviously implies that students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the readings assigned for that particular day.

As you prepare for each class, you should read carefully and be ready to discuss the readings (cases and articles) listed under Required Readings.  Those listed under Optional Readings, on the contrary, are not required.  They represent optional readings for those of you who are interested in delving more deeply into a particular topic.


Students are also required, as part of their preparation for each class, to write out a structured reactions to or thoughts about specific selected readings for that day.  The objective should be to produce a critical analysis rather than an appreciation.  You might make an argument (e.g., “Was the central action in the reading wise or unwise?  Are there better choices?”); or develop and critique an analogy (e.g., “The situation confronting the decision-makers was like (unlike) one with which I am familiar. On balance, this suggests ….”).  You are also encouraged to compare/contrast the material that will be covered during the class in which the paper is due with the material of the previous class(es).  So, there are many possibilities.  It is highly recommended, however, that you use the reading(s) to examine either the case assigned for discussion the same day when the paper is due or, alternatively, a real-world situation you experienced (e.g., during your internship with a particular company) or know about.

The point of the exercise is to engage intellectually with the material and the issues it raises. Summaries of the readings are not acceptedSummaries are not what I am looking for.  Over the entire semester you are expected to turn in a total of 9 papers: the precise day when the paper is due is indicated in the class schedule below.  The grading scheme is described under rubric “Written Assignments and Case Analysis Grading Criteria” below.  I will discard the paper with the lowest grade and use the others for grading purposes.

A suitable target length would be 2 to 3 typewritten pages, double-spacing.  A hard copy of your thought papers must be handed over to me at the beginning of each class for which they are due

3. In-class Quizzes/Exercises (20%)

There will a series of short quizzes/exercises that will be administered in class as indicated in the syllabus.  These quizzes/exercises are intended to give you opportunities to apply and deepen your knowledge of the course content.

4. Final (In-class) Exam(30%)

This is a closed book exam. The exam will be a combination of case analysis and short-answer type questions. More details on the exam will be provided in class.


Use of Blackboard: I will use the Blackboard extensively. Please refer to it regularly for course announcements and updates.

Class Participation: You are expected to have done the reading or prepared the case for the day and come to class ready to join the discussion. You should therefore listen carefully to your classmates and suggest supporting or alternative views. It is important to know how to raise and answer questions, to bring up ideas orinsights and to build upon the ideas of others. You should at all times be a considerate member of the class and avoid disruptive behavior such as excessive chatting. Use of laptops or other electronic devices is not allowed in class – unless explicitly permitted by the instructor.

Re-Grading: If you think there is a mistake grading your assignment/project/exam, you must submit to me in writing a description of what you think is wrong. You need to do so by the end of the class period following the one in which the assignment/project/exam is returned to you.


We do not tolerate academic fraud (cheating, plagiarism, lying etc). As a matter of personal and professional respect for ourselves and each other, we should expect the highest standards of conduct from ourselves and our peers. Violating these standards takes away the value and meaning of the educational environment for all of us. In the event that such a violation occurs, the individual(s) involved will be subject to University sanctions.







Use of Course Frameworks for Analysis

Conclusions and Recommendations

Quality of Writing and Organization


An exceptionally innovative and insightful thesis that is relevant to class concepts and drives entire paper

Exceptional creativity in finding relevant data to support key points

Exceptional integration of most relevant concepts as bridge between thesis and conclusions displaying strong critical thinking

Draws clear, feasible and discerning conclusions that stem directly from data and analysis

Paper is clearly organized, easy to follow, has a unified tone, and is well-written


Clear thesis that is relevant to class concepts and drives entire paper

Substantial effort to collect information given availability of data on subject

Covers most relevant frameworks and class concepts given thesis, subject, and data, and presents logical analysis of data used

Presents clear conclusions and/or recommendations that include specific actionable items

Paper is relatively clearly organized, and demonstrates solid writing and communication style appropriate for the material


Relatively clear thesis that unevenly drives paper, or thesis doesn’t really provide answer to company’s problem(s)

Significant holes in data collection that leave paper unable to address key issues

Omits one or more important concepts, or uses them superficially

Link between conclusions and analysis/data is tenuous and/or conclusions are largely infeasible

Organization and writing is uneven


A poorly-defined thesis, multiple unrelated theses, or not using the thesis to drive the paper

Heavy reliance on 1-2 sources, overly-biased sources, inadequate citation of sources, or significant lack of research creativity

Incorrect usage of course materials, or practically no actual usage of materials

Overly simple conclusions, conclusions that don’t derive from analysis, or no thought about implementation

Organization is difficult to understand or lacking, or quality of writing is clearly unacceptable


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


Required Course Materials

Class Material: The digital course-pack available from the bookstore


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


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